(CNN) - Anyone who has tried to get in shape knows well what it is to count. We have counted calories, carbohydrates, grams of fat, Weight Watchers points, heart rate, steps, kilometers.
Now, a smart eating utensil called HapiFork will help count snacks at meals. It may cause embarrassment, slow us down, and probably lose weight.
Technology has made it easy to count everyday minutiae with all Gadgets: smartphones, pedometers and small sensors that can be placed on garments such as wristbands. This custom of recording activities has led to a movement: the quantification of being, which has reached beyond people who are concerned about their health.
People record their sleep patterns, heart rate, frame of mind quality of air and work habits, in an attempt to collect enough data to correct problems in your health or lifestyle.
"Anything we can measure we can improve," said Fabrice Boutain, chief operating officer and founder of HapiLabs.
In the case of HapiFork, the rate at which people eat can be improved. It takes about 20 minutes for the stomach to tell the brain that it is satisfied and that it is time to stop eating, causing people who eat too quickly to eat too much. The HapiFork team argues that eating slower has many potential health benefits, including reducing acid reflux, obesity, and diabetes.
The $ 99 fork attracted attention for the first time during the Consumer Electronics Show which took place in January 2013 and will be on sale later this year.
The fork can be used to passively record eating habits — such as the duration of meals and the frequency of snacks — and automatically synchronizes that information with a smartphone. The HapiFork mobile app will also include a Training program y tools to connect with friends and family.
The device can also be used to modify behavior and will vibrate whenever the diner is eating too quickly to gently remind them to slow down. Its preloaded configuration allows you to take a bite every 10 seconds, although the exact time can be customized.
When the HapiFork's teeth touch the mouth, a circuit is closed and a bite is counted. The data is automatically transmitted to a smartphone by bluetooth Or they can be charged to a micro USB port on the base. The fork battery lasts up to 15 days and features a thick plastic handle where the electronic parts are housed. Components can be removed for washing. You must press a button to turn it on before each meal, but it automatically turns off when you finish using it.
A field test
I tried the fork this week. I had lunch sealed tuna salad. There are only 10 prototypes of the HapiFork and each one was thoroughly disinfected among the users who tested them (I hope).
It was a very tasty salad so the slow, responsible bites soon got bigger and more rushed. When two bites occurred in less than 10 seconds, the fork vibrated, causing an uncomfortable feeling, especially if the cutlery is close to your teeth.
I slowed down for a while, mostly out of embarrassment, but sooner or later I forgot and the fork buzzed once more. This happened about five times during the meal, a typical frequency among novices, according to Boutain.
HapiLabs relies on the theory that it takes 21 days to create a habit. If you use the fork constantly for three weeks, this should help you reprogram yourself to eat more slowly all the time. One meal was not enough to cure my craving, but for the rest of the day I was more aware of the rate at which I ate.
Where can you get it?
Jacques Lepine invented the fork seven years ago. He compares reprogramming to techniques that people who usually bite their nails use to quit, such as using nail varnish with a bitter taste.
This month the HapiFork team launched a 45-day campaign in Kickstarter to raise $ 100,000 and recruit the first 1,000 users, who will receive their holders in late summer.
"We want to serve a community of people who like to be aware when eating," said Boutain.
Since it started gathering information from test users, HapiLabs has found that people take approximately 70 bites per meal. They start to eat quickly but slow down after six minutes.
According to the cutlery database, people tend to eat rice much faster than pasta (possibly because of the complexity of the process of screwing it on the fork).
This is just a small example of the kind of information the company and medical researchers could provide about the way people eat. This research potential makes the fork much more than just a silly and fun device. It represents an evolution in quantification and recording technology.
In the coming years, the sensors will be present in more and more household items and they will record data such as air quality, movement, vital signs and other statistics. Is potential flooding sensors It could cause an information mess, since each data will be registered in its own application. (Read some examples here.)
Ideally, companies that manufacture sensors will work together so that the different data They can be shared across applications and devices, allowing them to be analyzed for more revealing conclusions. (Do you eat less on days that you sleep more than eight hours? What effect does the quality of the air in your house have on your mood?)